Archive for January, 2010
For example, less than an hour ago, I saw THIS:
Wow – a Touareg man riding dromedary camel!!! Now, you may think this is perfectly normal in a country which contains a significant proportion of the Sahara Desert, but here in Bamako you really don’t see them that much. Goats, sheep, donkeys, zebus, chickens – of course! But not camels!
He was happy enough for me to take his photo but – like most men riding camels I’ve come across – he wanted some monetary recompense for the privilege! Other interesting happenings in my neighbourhood include the African Wedding celebration I blogged about last October (read it here).
Thanks for reading!
Remember this post, with the mystery object to be identified?
Well, it is, in fact, a swamp cooler (read what wiki has to say about them here). As they’re not common in colder climes, I thought I’d give you a quick tour of the device, so you can see how it works. Have a look:
(Facebookers may need to click here to see video)
There you go! Certainly works well and has brought our lounge down to below 25C…
As you can see, the blog now has new photos at the top as well as a different title. This is to make it more ‘Malian’, rather than purely an extension of the Benin stuff!
So, we now have the following photos:
(1) Our car on the road between Bougouni and Sikasso (Southern Mali)
In the coming weeks, I also plan to alter the side menus, to include more Malian stuff too! Many thanks to Reggie for his help putting the new header on and also to our mutual friend, Clive Rahn who took the sunset photo (and maybe one or two of the others!)
Hope you like it – any comments?
Here it is (bit easier again, I think…)
Answer to last week’s TT: “The Spanish Flea”. Here’s the full rendition:
And the winner was: Anne Anderson. Well done, Anne (and thanks to everyone else who had a go – it’s always worth trying!)
Visit the “Tour d’Afrique” in Faladie.
There it is! An impressive piece of architecture, I think you’ll agree! Located on the edge of town, the “Tower of Africa” can be seen for miles around. In spite of its distinctive character, I can find no information about when or why it was built (anyone help?)
So, for a fun visit with the family, get a SOTRAMA from near Azar’s supermarket in Badala (for only 150 cfa each) and you should be there in 15-30 mins. Then you can climb the stairs to the top for under 1000cfa (usually) or even catch the lift if you’re feeling brave!
The view from the top is interesting, but unimpressive; the location of the tower means you’re mostly looking out on a series of dual carriageways and flat suburbs in every direction, though on a clear day you can see all the way down to the city centre.
Inside, there are painted displays on every floor, showing agriculture, industry, technology and (I presume) former Malian presidents:
Bamako is well endowed with interesting monuments of all shapes and sizes – see some more of them here.
(Added March 2011): I was recently at the Tour d’Afrique again and the lift (elevator) was not working, so we had to walk all the way up! This is fine, except that there are sections of the stairs with no lighting (so it is advisable to bring a torch/flashlight). However, they actually let us go all the way onto the roof of the tower, so we got a much better view (it could be worth asking, just be careful up there!!) Here I am on the very top with my mate Dave:
Here’s the second ‘Tuesday Tunes’ for you. Any ideas?
Last week’s answer: The Cancan
Here’s the full extract:
And the winner was: Harriet Vickers (also Liz Wybrew via Facebook).
The second most popular face in Bamako is this one:
A sticker seen on board a SOTRAMA, a window sticker in a taxi, an entire hair-dressing salon painted Obama-style and, on the market, there is no end of Obama shirts, belts and other merchandise!
It is fair to say that, in recent times, the media have associated the predominant religion of Mali with a degree of anti-American sentiment. Well, there’s little evidence of this in Bamako – where there are almost as many stars and stripes to be seen as in Washington!
My friend Clive, on his recent visit, made the most of this and got himself an Obama shirt. I, as you can see, remain faithful to my own country!!!
Don’t forget that I also found Obama goods for sale on St Albans market last year (post here), so it’s not just a Mali thing!
I said that Obama’s face is only the SECOND most popular face around the city. So, QUIZ TIME! Whose face is seen even more often than Obama’s?? Folk who live in Bamako are barred from answering – the rest of you, have a guess (tricky one, though). Clue: Revolutionary.
New for 2010! It’s TUESDAY TUNES!!!
The rules are simple – listen to me singing five-notes of a well-known tune (below) and identify it! What could be easier (or more fun)? Go on, give it a go!
As with the trivia questions, the winner will be named next week and the full audio extract posted.
So, here’s your first one:
NB If you’re looking at this on my Facebook notes, you may need to click here
If you buy a turkey in Africa, beware – you may get more than you bargained for…
Picture it if you will: It’s Christmas morning and Lois takes our supermarket-bought turkey out of the fridge and removes the plastic wrapping to reveal THIS:
Eeek! I know we ordered a ‘whole turkey’, but this is not quite what we wanted to gobble up! Needless to say, Lois vacated the kitchen with some haste and called for reinforcements (ie her husband) who was less frightened by this sight:
After 20 minutes of twisting, dislocating and chopping, Rob managed to make it look like a British supermarket turkey, rather than a meal fit for ‘Santa Claws’. There was actually a reasonable amount of meat on it (though not considering we paid for 2.5kilos of ‘turkey’).
Of course, in Africa folk eat the whole shabang and even crunch the bones with their teeth to suck out the marrow. In fact, when our cook returned after Christmas, he saw the discarded limbs & head in the outside bin and complained “Why didn’t you save them for me?”
Maybe next year…
My good friend Clive Rahn visited for Christmas and had a whale of a time!
Here are some of the highlights of his visit (chosen entirely by me!)
(From top left to bottom right in the most logical way:)
1. A New Year’s Day boat trip on the Niger River.
Hope you’re enjoying the cooler British weather again now, mate!!